OK, well, perhaps not ALL. I mean, even chicken keepers like to keep a little mystery around their feathered shenanigans. But, I’m excited to say that I have collaborated with 20 other well known chicken owners to bring you our combined chicken knowledge, personal chicken experiences, and individual thoughts on such hot topics as natural chicken care, stew hens and free ranging. It’s a page turner, I’ll tell ya!
All posts in The Animals
Sometimes when I’m following a farm page on Facebook, or a homesteading blog…it’s easy to think they never make mistakes. We bloggers so often only share the victories. After all, mistakes are embarrassing, and who wants to be judged, especially when you’re already feeling 2 inches tall? But, mistakes are important and inevitable, just like victories. In fact, some of the most memorable lessons are learned through oopsies, not successes. ::cough::GOATS::cough:: So here are 3 of my mistakes for March.
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Mike and I have been talking about adding rabbits to the homestead for awhile now. Rabbit is one of the leanest, highest protein meats you can find…and the turnaround from birth to freezer is pretty hard to beat. With the exception of created-in-a-lab Cornish X monstrosities, I don’t think anything produces that quickly. Other benefits? The meat is delicious (one friend said, “If I could buy this, I’d never eat chicken again.”), they take up very little space and their manure can be put directly on your garden. Win/win/win!
I think it’s fairly safe to say that MOST of us raising chickens for eggs are doing so because we want more control over our food. If your chickens have access to kitchen food scraps, bugs and a little grass..your eggs are already way ahead of even the organic eggs at the store. But, as they say, you are what you eat…so what else are your chickens eating? Organic food? GMO free? If you’re avoiding super processed, packaged food, does it bother you to feed the same to your chickens? I know it bothers us, so here is a collection of 12 resources on DIY chicken foods and methods.
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Are you familiar with brambles? They are like a rosebush on steroids, with evil hooked thorns and whippy, long vines that dearly love to wrap around your legs/arms/body/face/etc. And they love to grow in thick, impossible to penetrate bramble FORESTS. Even after you cut one down, they are still game for a fight (see what happened to Mike’s eye last year). So. How does one rid themselves of the evil that is brambles? You tell me. Here’s what we’ve tried thus far.
As of this morning, we have cut our final tie with the Nigerian Dwarf goat series of our life (aka the milk stand). Whew. That was a bad one. I mean, not BAD bad, but, perhaps “reconsider your whole life’s path” bad? We re-homed our little dairy herd back in July, so it’s been a bit, but I’m just now realizing how truly WRONG goats were for us. We read all the homesteading books, you know, the ones that say “dairy goats and chickens will make your every dream come true!” Yeah. Those. Sorry, but soooo not our experience.
It’s funny you should ask. A year ago, I’d say, “Heck no…chickens are BORING, DIRTY, DUMB creatures!” Mike was the chicken fan. I wanted “real” livestock, like goats, sheep and cows. Now? Well, I’ve kind of become a convert. Obviously, there is the cool factor of collecting your own eggs, and sharing them with friends & family. But, let me tell you…you won’t need reality TV once you get a few hens in your backyard. Don’t believe me? Check out what went down at Blue Yurt Farms yesterday.
Yes. It looks GROSS, doesn’t it? But, oh…your chickens will love you for it. And, according to the experts, your pocketbook will smile too. The benefits of fermentation in a nutshell? Wet feed is more filling than dry, the good bacteria help keep your chickens healthy and the fermentation changes the nutritional components of your feed to the better. We currently aren’t feeding organic (I’m sorry ladies!) due to budget, so it’s the least I can do to try and up the nutritional bang-for-the-buck. So how do YOU do it?
We had just a little bit of snow left on the coop when I went to check eggs this morning, and wouldn’t ya know…snow makes the perfect cushion while collecting eggs (and it gets extra points for being pretty, yes?).
So. We’ve been fostering kittens. AKA…we had 6 kittens galloping around the yurt for a few weeks. Adorableness. Plus, occasional embarrassment when visitors came over, and we looked like crazy cat people… “They aren’t ours, we’re fostering!!” was a frequent line. Followed by, “Want a kitten?” Two of the little dazzlers weren’t up for adoption, since we’d already fallen madly in love with them. This was the first time I have ever sympathized with hoarders, FYI. You want them all. But, I digress.